Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) Perspectives

Rockwell Automation shares HARTING’s view that Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) is a significant new technology. Rockwell Automation’s Gregory Wilcox, Principal Application Engineer, and Chirag Malkan, Senior Global Advanced Engineering Manager shared their thoughts about SPE.

IEEE has multiple SPE standards with different speed requirements, distances, and application focuses. IEEE 802.3CG is Rockwell Automation’s focus for long and short distance. Rockwell Automation supports incorporation of these into ODVA standards. In addition Rockwell Automation is committed to supporting the Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer (APL) that leverages SPE and is primarily focused on intrinsically safe process industry applications.


Single pair Ethernet (SPE) expands the application of Ethernet to solve many industry challenges in discrete, process, and hazardous applications. Efficient highspeed data communications coupled with ODVA and OPC Foundation initiatives provide seamlessly transported data and information throughout control systems, operations, business systems and to cloud applications directly from sensors, actuators, and other edge devices.

Two key use case examples are in-panel wiring of motor control equipment and connection of instrumentation in hazardous environment leveraging the T1S and T1L subcategories of SPE.

Intrinsically safe process applications benefit from Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer (APL) with application-specific features taking Ethernet and EtherNet/IP to edge devices. APL participation by ODVA, OPC Foundation, FieldComm Group and PROFIBUS and PROFINET International (PI) in a spirit of cooperation benefits vendors and users alike. This cooperation also extends to safe area T1L applications with common installation practices and infrastructure shared by all technologies.

The higher speed of APL is a huge improvement on legacy process automation technology like Foundation Fieldbus.



SPE creates seamless connectivity from the cloud down to edge devices includingstandard components like push buttons  and overload relays providing user access to a wealth of information to apply prognostics and analytics for optimization and decision making. Components deliver valuable “just-in-time” data and closedloop feedback on systems to increases operator efficiency and automation flexibility. The integration of data also improves workforce efficiency by directly providing information to new workers that in the past has been tribal knowledge known by experienced workers, many nearing retirements.


ODVA’s new in-cabinet bus solution defines a multidrop bus cable incorporating data and control power leveraging T1S enhancements in discrete applications significantly reducing in-panel wiring costs. It also enables users to get value from passive components including push buttons, tower lights and overload relays. Maintenance time and costs are reduced with less terminations and simple plug and play device replacements.

  • Future Proof
    SPE creates future-ready industrial systems and reduces barriers to adopting new technologies. Adopting SPE, industrial operators can now more easily take advantage of the latest, most sophisticated hardware, software, and applications.
  • Further Developments
    Enhanced bandwidth to support applications with higher data communication requirements including drive control, video analytics and augmented reality.

Growing threats require development and broad adoption of strong cybersecurity recommendations and specifications across all the standards as created by ODVA.­